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Japanese Bistrot

A hidden Izakaya in Lyon 7

The deco

After my trip to Japan and discovering Japanese cuisine, which goes far beyond the famous sushi, whenever I hear the word “Tonkatsu” (a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet), my antennas perk up. I was therefore very happy to try Kinoko, a Japanese restaurant in Lyon 7 that presents classic Izakaya dishes in a modern way.

Izakayas are informal Japanese restaurants where people go to drink and eat in company, often after work. The dishes served are generally simple but tasty, and include a variety of foods like yakitori (chicken skewers), sashimi, tempura, edamame, and various types of stews and fried foods. Beverages include beer, sake, shochu, and sometimes even cocktails.

In an Izakaya, customers order various small dishes to share, creating a convivial and relaxed atmosphere. These places are very popular in Japan for socializing with friends, colleagues, or family.

The name “Kinoko” derives from the Japanese word for “mushroom,” to show the connection with nature that is so present in Japanese cuisine.

The dishes are few, simple, and well-crafted. The welcome is kind, the portions generous, and the price absolutely fair. In short, a rare gem in a city where, as soon as a restaurant associates itself with the word “Japan,” the prices skyrocket.


We went with friends one evening, booking in advance.

The welcome was kind and smiling, the service organized and efficient. The restaurant isn’t huge, so always make a reservation. The interior is really nice, with decor carefully crafted to make you feel like you’re walking down a small street in Tokyo.

We tried various dishes, leaving with full bellies, happy, and without much lighter wallets.

The prices are very fair compared to the quantity and quality served: appetizers range from 6.50 to 14 euros (the most expensive is the flame-grilled octopus at 18 euros, but it’s an exceptional dish), the main dishes range from 13 to 16 euros, and desserts are 6 euros.


The Menu


My absolute favorites were the fish dish of the day (fish tataki), with fresh and delicious lightly seared tuna with a delicate and slightly acidic and spicy sauce that was to die for. Accompanied by rice included in the price, it’s a sophisticated dish that will leave you full if paired with an appetizer or dessert.

Fish Tataki

The Tonkatsu they served was good, but not my favorite, and perhaps I expected too much considering that their website highlights it as their signature dish. It was absolutely worth the price paid and of good quality, but perhaps in my memory, the classic Japanese version had left a more profound impression that the more modern version of this bistro couldn’t surpass.


In second place, I would directly rank the Mini Gua Bao, not at all small steamed buns (their size was a pleasant surprise!) generously stuffed with a combo of meat, marinated red cabbage, lettuce, carrots, and fried onions, which personally made them the best bao I’ve ever eaten. The included sweet potato fries are the cherry on top. Perfect as a shared appetizer (the quantity is really abundant).

Mini Guao Bao

Despite our skepticism, we ordered the yuzu cheesecake, a Japanese citrus fruit similar to lemon. The dessert won everyone over, and if I ever go back, I would order it again.

Yuzu Cheesecake

Would I return?



Probably for lunch, because if already at dinner the quality-price ratio is on the plate, at lunch the prices are even lower with their lunch formula. If you go for lunch on weekdays, you get a complete menu with appetizer + main dish + dessert for only 22 euros. We’re talking about a Japanese restaurant that makes every dish from scratch. To my knowledge, you can’t find a better Japanese lunch formula in Lyon for this type of service and menu.



The location is perfect, just a stone’s throw from Jean Macé.

Beautiful decorated internal terrace, perfect for warm summer evenings.

Generous and abundant portions, many accompaniments included in the dish like rice and cabbage salad that won’t leave you hungry.

Great lunch formula.



– The place is small, so it’s better to book or you risk being left out.

– The Tonkatsu is not bad, but I recommend the other dishes on the menu more. Even though it’s one of my favorite Japanese dishes, it didn’t leave a lasting impression. Try the dish of the day or the fish tataki!

– Some tables, although nice, suffer a bit from the draft if the entrance door and terrace door are open and it’s a windy day. If you’re cold-sensitive, don’t take the tables inside towards the terrace.

– Some sauces are slightly spicy and not indicated, which wasn’t a problem for me but could be for some customers who don’t like spiciness at all.

– The menu is short, not offering much choice of dishes. Although this might seem like a downside, don’t be afraid: the options, although few, are very varied, so you’ll find something for everyone. Better to cook a few things well, and Kinoko understands this.

Remember, this is a humble review meant to help you discover new places in Lyon, not a Michelin guide. Behind every place I review is my personal taste but above all the hard work of the restaurateurs that should always be respected. So use this article as an invitation to go and test the place for yourself to form your own opinion.

Here is the practical information:


34 rue Bancel

69007 Lyon

Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Sunday: 12:00–13:30, 19:00-21:30

Reservations: directly through their website

Menu: available on their website




The interiors are carefully decorated, and the tables are not crowded together, giving the customers plenty of space.


It is not large, but this is reflected in the quality: better to have a few well-cooked dishes. Additionally, the prices are fair, without being excessive. The lunch menus are particularly advantageous.


The vibe is intimate, perfect for small groups of friends, family, or couples. It is not too noisy, making it ideal for eating and chatting without leaving with a headache.


There is a daily fish dish that changes each time, and the quality of both the meat and the fish is excellent. Portions are generous, which is always a plus! Most importantly, the friendliness of the staff makes you feel welcomed and pampered.

On Key

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